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Choristers joined by The King's Singers for Carols from King's

The internationally renowned vocal group stepped in to join the choristers for the traditional Christmas celebration after adult members of the Choir tested positive for COVID-19.
The choristers in rehearsal for Carols from King's

We are delighted that the boy choristers of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge have been joined by the internationally renowned vocal group The King’s Singers for this year’s Carols from King’s. The traditional Christmas celebration, which is broadcast on BBC Two on Christmas Eve, is an institution of Christmas television for many viewers in the UK. 

Plans for the filming had to be changed at short notice after two choral scholars (adult members) of the Choir, within the same household, tested positive for Covid-19. The King’s Singers were asked to step in at 48 hours’ notice, joining the young choristers from the Choir. The two groups, which stood a safe distance apart, sang with each other for the first time only minutes before filming began.

The two choral scholars with positive test results have suffered only mild symptoms and, together with the choral scholars who are in precautionary self-isolation, have received welfare and pastoral support from King’s College. 

We are all hugely grateful to The King’s Singers for stepping up at the last minute. They have shown tremendous goodwill and consummate professionalism. Our young choristers also responded very positively and with real maturity to the several challenges faced in reimagining the programme, and together they have enabled us to offer a wonderful Christmas service at extraordinarily short notice. 

King’s College Choir has been preparing for our Christmas broadcasts for months while following strict safety protocols, so it was particularly disappointing that the choral scholars couldn’t be with us for the filming. To have had one of the households hit by the virus at the last moment was incredibly unfortunate.

In a year when so many will be spending Christmas in a way unlike any other in living memory, we were determined to do whatever we could to offer a meaningful and beautiful Christmas service. We’re delighted with the result of the remarkable efforts of so many people at King’s and at the BBC, and we look forward to sharing Carols from King’s with viewers across the country.

Revd Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King’s College

Carols from King’s is a cornerstone of the BBC’s Christmas programming and we are delighted that The King’s Singers were able to join us. That significant changes were successfully made at such short notice is testament to the dedication and determination of the musicians and the teams at King’s College and the BBC.

Alan Holland, Executive Producer, BBC

The filming for the programme completed on Sunday evening and will be broadcast in the UK on BBC Two at 17:30 on Christmas Eve. An order of service will be available to download from King’s College from Friday 18 December for those wishing to follow it alongside the broadcast.

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